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Norwood police, Memorial Baptist partner to assist high-risk residents

A new partnership between law enforcement and a prominent Norwood-area church has already benefited area high-risk citizens and looks to do more in the future.

Members of Memorial Baptist Church have partnered with the Norwood Police Department to act as go-betweens for families needing help obtaining groceries and other supplies.

Norwood police chief James Wilson said citizens who are higher risk in catching the coronavirus, including the elderly and immunocompromised, are eligible for help from the program.

Volunteers from Memorial Baptist will act as delivery people for families to pick up and deliver groceries to their homes. Citizens will use online services like Walmart’s pickup or others to order supplies, and the volunteers will handle the delivery. Norwood police will be available to escort volunteers making deliveries to make sure the goods are delivered.

“We’re looking forward to being able to help in terms of the community,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of people who are scared to go out and be exposed because of the risk factors. We’re trying to eliminate that for them.”

Memorial Youth Pastor Sean Griffin spearheaded efforts to start the program, with Wilson saying his department has tagged along to find a different way to serve the community.

Griffin said the program started out of the fact of the church having a number of high school and college-age students back home.

“We thought, ‘What could we do to get these students to continue to serve?’ We thought this would be a great way to do it since a lot of them will have extra time on their hands and be home,” Griffin said.

So far, around five people have been served with the program with around 12 to 15 volunteers from the church. Should requests come in from beyond Norwood, Griffin said he and others have discussed contacting churches in other parts of Stanly.

Protecting the safety of the families helped and the volunteers has been important, which Griffin said using prepaid purchases has not been an issue so far.

Griffin said he thinks Christians in recent times have gotten bad press, but he hopes the program is an opportunity to show God’s love.

“Scripture says He is the embodiment of love, so we should be reaching outside of our walls,” Griffin said.

He noted volunteers from Memorial had delivered lunch to local doctor’s offices as well to show those workers appreciation for their efforts.

“If the church was to shut down, would the community notice? If the answer is no, then we’re not doing our job. It’s not about just what happens just inside that building…we want to continue to go out there and serve the community,” Griffin said.

Families needing help are encouraged to call 910-617-3316 for assistance.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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